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All Kolossal and Maple Games Kickstarters shut down

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20 Apr 2019 15:53 - 20 Apr 2019 16:00 #295818 by ubarose

southernman wrote: I'm a backer of Kolossal's Western Legends: Ante Up that funded and closed late January (due Nov 2019) and I saw that they had started two more since then - Consumption (also due Nov 2019) and Papillion. Interesting that they allowed Consumption while WL:AU hadn't been fulfilled, I suppose three at the same time was putting too much head above the parapets.


They also had Hunt the Ravager and Folding Spaces running at the same time as Papillion.

And I think Mezo and another game hasn’t been fulfilled yet either.
Last edit: 20 Apr 2019 16:00 by ubarose.

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20 Apr 2019 16:35 #295819 by Jackwraith
I still feel like I haven't seen the full story here, whether it's about Kickstarter's selective enforcement or Kolossal's attempt to evade the rules. It's KS's option to run their business how they want and if they're running it on feel (as in, these are the rules, but we're suspending people for REALLY bending them), that's their prerogative. The story keep going around that many companies break the "multiple campaigns" rule, but Kolossal had made separate accounts and/or established multiple imprints to essentially pretend that they weren't. Is that why they got suspended? For being too brazen about it? Or did KS feel that they were genuinely too far out on a limb and there was going to be an implosion of not just one company, but multiple "companies", to where their service was seriously brought into question?
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20 Apr 2019 18:23 #295821 by cdennett
So I dug into this out of curiosity (I backed Mezo, but that's it). Kickstarter rules say they "may" enforce rules such as running simultaneous projects, running a new campaign before the next one is fulfilled, or if there is insufficient progress/communication. In this case it was clearly the simultaneous campaigns that bit Kolossal, where they not only created a new account (Kolossal Micro?) to run two simultaneously, and also had a "sister" company running at the same time. Clearly, having near continuous KickStarter campaigns running was the business model of Kolossal, and they're going to have to reevaluate that. I think they could have gotten away with Folding Spaces and the butterfly one, but I'll bet the second Kolossal account was the straw that broke the camel's back.

I've read a lot of people "freaking out" over the "unfulfilled campaigns" clause (of which Kolossal did have like 8 or 9 in the pipe), but they would start stepping on the toes of the "kings" of Kickstarter, like CMON. I doubt very seriously there will be any crackdown on unfulfilled projects unless there is clear evidence that communication has stopped or progress is in doubt. Petersen Games would be an interesting case to look at, as they are starting to move to more frequent and smaller campaigns, which may get them in the cross-hairs should Kickstarter decide they want to crack down on outstanding projects. But that affects pretty much EVERY major board game produce on KickStarter, so I don't see that happening. If it does, I think you'll start to see some competitors (like Indiegogo) actually gain some traction.

It's clear KickStarter provides a real benefit to publishers, otherwise you wouldn't see Stronghold deciding it's not that bad now that Indie Boards and Cards shared their books. It provides built-in advertising, an accurate measurement on demand, and I can only presume MUCH higher profit margins. I think the whole "money up front" bit is not the main driving force for many to use KS. The hobby is moving towards a one-and-done model for most games, where only the most successful will get a reprint, and that is something KS does well.
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20 Apr 2019 19:32 #295824 by san il defanso
On the Small Box Games Instagram, John Clowdus announced that he is starting SBG back up again. It's unclear if he's axing the deal he made with Kolossal or what, but I wonder if this has something to do with that.

I should point out that's just speculation on my part. I have no insider info at all.
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21 Apr 2019 11:35 #295834 by Msample

Jackwraith wrote: I still feel like I haven't seen the full story here, whether it's about Kickstarter's selective enforcement or Kolossal's attempt to evade the rules. It's KS's option to run their business how they want and if they're running it on feel (as in, these are the rules, but we're suspending people for REALLY bending them), that's their prerogative. The story keep going around that many companies break the "multiple campaigns" rule, but Kolossal had made separate accounts and/or established multiple imprints to essentially pretend that they weren't. Is that why they got suspended? For being too brazen about it? Or did KS feel that they were genuinely too far out on a limb and there was going to be an implosion of not just one company, but multiple "companies", to where their service was seriously brought into question?


Yeah plenty of publishers have multiple campaigns running at once - CMON, Sierra Madre, etc. I'm guessing KS is OK with that since a prospective backer can see that and judge for themselves. Its when companies form multiple shell corps that comes across as hiding / concealing that KS will sit up and take notice.

>

Jexik wrote: I agree that it was about time something was done. I'm just curious if they already went forward with production and are personally on the hook for it now.

Whatever happened to Game Salute? Are they still a thing?


Yes they are still around. I don't know if the Game Salute "Brand" still exists, as they've spun off so many sub brands - "imprints" that supposedly do different things but exist mainly to escape the tarnish of the GS name, which has spawned multiple threats detailing their shortcomings and shady business practices over on TOS. Ship Naked is their KS shipment fulfilment brand, I mean , imprint. I think SN is doing shipment on the Gotham City Chronicles game.

Google Game Salute and see what comes up . It ain't pretty .
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22 Apr 2019 08:56 - 22 Apr 2019 08:57 #295862 by charlest

ubarose wrote:

southernman wrote: I'm a backer of Kolossal's Western Legends: Ante Up that funded and closed late January (due Nov 2019) and I saw that they had started two more since then - Consumption (also due Nov 2019) and Papillion. Interesting that they allowed Consumption while WL:AU hadn't been fulfilled, I suppose three at the same time was putting too much head above the parapets.


They also had Hunt the Ravager and Folding Spaces running at the same time as Papillion.

And I think Mezo and another game hasn’t been fulfilled yet either.


Papillon ended before Hunt the Ravager and Folding Space began.

Kickstarter holds funds for about 2 weeks before giving them to the creator of the project, but this suspension happened a few days after Papillon ended, right when Hunt the Ravager and Folding Space began. The money was never given to Kolossal for Papillon and the project was suspended retroactively.

I don't see Kickstarter cracking down for unfulfilled projects at all, as some have stated, this is likely because they had Hunt the Ravager and Folding Space running at the same time.

What's interesting is that Maple Games and Kolossal are not the same company. They both share an influential investor though and both Kickstarter accounts are linked to the same person (Ian Birdsall).

Travis Chance is the face of Kolossal and does much of the internal running of the company, I don't believe he's affiliated with Maple Games at all.

Also, Daryl Andrews being let go by Maple Games has nothing to do with this. He's one of the nicest people in the hobby (I'd put him up there right next to Jamey Stegmaier), and while his games are not for me, he's a fantastic person.
Last edit: 22 Apr 2019 08:57 by charlest.
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22 Apr 2019 08:57 - 22 Apr 2019 08:58 #295863 by Vysetron
I talked about this on board game Twitter before going mostly-offline for the weekend, but I'll echo Barnes and others.

Good. I'm glad. I hope this is the beginning of consistent enforcement across the board, though I won't hold my breath on anything happening with CMON. At least they didn't make multiple accounts (AFAIK) that were run by the same person.

A note that people haven't been emphasizing is the lack of communication. I went in on exactly one Kolossal KS (Combo Fighter because I am a sucker for fighting card games) and it definitely suffered from that. Delays, barely any updates, and eventually a game showed up. I wonder how much that contributed to KS dropping the hammer. I've never gone in on a CMON joint but I hear they do a much better job on that front.
Last edit: 22 Apr 2019 08:58 by Vysetron.
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22 Apr 2019 09:04 #295864 by charlest
Also, one hunch I wanted to share - if Kickstarter would somehow clamp down on companies running a new campaign when a previous was unfulfilled, the negative fallout from this would be even a further tipping of the scales of the platform abandoning smaller indie games.

If Kolossal can only run one campaign at a time, I'd bet a healthy amount of money they're not going to spend that limited opportunity on something like Hunt the Ravager or Papillon. These smaller games from newer designers won't get selected. Instead, more minis, more campaigns geared towards making hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Due to the time delay of the production cycle, they will want projects that return higher raw revenue so they can maximized profit while waiting for the production to print and ship.
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22 Apr 2019 10:17 #295872 by Michael Barnes
Unless I am reading it incorrectly, Kickstarter was not intended to be a platform to sustain businesses or generate revenue.

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22 Apr 2019 10:46 - 22 Apr 2019 10:47 #295873 by charlest

Michael Barnes wrote: Unless I am reading it incorrectly, Kickstarter was not intended to be a platform to sustain businesses or generate revenue.


We're way past what Kickstarter was intended to be and the creators have become extremely wealthy based on what it is now.

I'm guessing this action has no intention to re-align Kickstarter with its original vision, but instead is the minimum action they've deemed necessary to avoid legal entanglements from their users.
Last edit: 22 Apr 2019 10:47 by charlest.
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22 Apr 2019 10:50 #295874 by Vysetron

Michael Barnes wrote: Unless I am reading it incorrectly, Kickstarter was not intended to be a platform to sustain businesses or generate revenue.


This is the point I keep hammering. Just because KS has been used for risk-free capital generation doesn't mean that's what it was made for, or what its rules allow for.
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22 Apr 2019 11:03 #295875 by Michael Barnes
I completely agree Charlie- and as such, they need to drop the pretense of “backing” and reframe the site as a platform for businesses to pre-sell product. They need to rewrite the rules such that they are not indemnified when a business fails to deliver paid-for product and clarify that Kickstarter is, in fact, a direct sales storefront. With all that in line, then Kolossa and whatever sock puppet accounts they want to make are on the line to deliver and this idiotic notion that consumers are “investors” goes away.

The problem is absolutely that what Kickstarter was got overwritten by what it had become, and yes indeed the folks behind it have become very wealthy off it. Which doesn’t help.
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22 Apr 2019 11:05 #295876 by Michael Barnes
And who would have guessed that games would be their top product? What does that tell us about the board game buyer?
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22 Apr 2019 11:17 #295878 by charlest

Michael Barnes wrote: I completely agree Charlie- and as such, they need to drop the pretense of “backing” and reframe the site as a platform for businesses to pre-sell product. They need to rewrite the rules such that they are not indemnified when a business fails to deliver paid-for product and clarify that Kickstarter is, in fact, a direct sales storefront. With all that in line, then Kolossa and whatever sock puppet accounts they want to make are on the line to deliver and this idiotic notion that consumers are “investors” goes away.

The problem is absolutely that what Kickstarter was got overwritten by what it had become, and yes indeed the folks behind it have become very wealthy off it. Which doesn’t help.


The problem is that it's in no one's best interests to do this except for the consumer. By operating in the grey area between souped up P500 and crowd-funded indie launch platform, they harness immense emotional power. You get FOMO and tons of huge products inundating these superbackers, plus you get to sell the buyer the idea of funding the dream and being a part of something bigger than themselves and their little virtual purchase.

It also allows for leeway for some producers to start off small and grow into those bigger animals (Jamey Stegmaier being a good example). I don't see Kickstarter making a big change to outting themselves as a pre-order system, especially considering that this philosophy doesn't really apply to the other industries utilizing the platform.
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22 Apr 2019 11:24 - 22 Apr 2019 11:33 #295879 by Sagrilarus

Michael Barnes wrote: And who would have guessed that games would be their top product? What does that tell us about the board game buyer?


I'll break that question in half. What publisher would have believed you in 2005 that board games would be a billion dollar industry (in North America alone mind you) inside of ten years?

Once you have your head wrapped around that you can decide if 25% through Kickstarter is a surprise.

That part of the industry is living on floated money at the moment. A bump in that could have significant repercussions, especially for companies that are running multiple pre-pubs in order to mitigate losses from prior efforts.

Charlie, I think you point to the elephant in the room -- it's in no one's interest to clarify that the whole thing is a racket, in spite of everyone knowing it's a racket. With enough new people coming into the hobby there's always someone that still has their youthful idealism intact, but you can't depend on that forever, and you can't grow forever. At some point the music slows down (likely won't ever stop) and you get into an eBay situation, where the scare is gone and it just becomes a flea market. I think Kickstarter is halfway there. Won't be the same place in ten years.
Last edit: 22 Apr 2019 11:33 by Sagrilarus.
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